The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is a global religious community also known as the Hare Krishna Movement. ISKCON belongs to the Gaudiya-Vaishnava sampradaya, a monotheistic tradition within the broader Vedic, or Hindu, family of faith and cultural traditions.

ISKCON's system of belief and practice is based on the Bhagavad-gita, "The Song of God," which, according to tradition, is 5,000 years old. The speaker of this sacred text is Lord Krishna, who is revered as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The text explains what is the soul, God, the systems of yoga, karma, and reincarnation. It proclaims that the ultimate goal of life is to develop love of God, which is most easily realized in this age through the practice of bhakti-yoga, the science of devotional service.

In the 16th century, a Bengali saint and avatar, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu revitalized the bhakti-yoga tradition across India. Central to this renaissance was Chaitanya’s emphasis on the chanting of Krishna’s name. Underlying this simple practice was a profound, intellectually comprehensive theology. 

In 1965, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada left India, and at the age of 70 travelled to America under the order of his teacher, to propagate Krishna consciousness in the western world. He opened his first temple in New York City in 1966, and from a humble storefront presence, ISKCON has grown to be a vibrant global community of temples, rural projects, educational institutes, congregations, and vegetarian restaurants. 

The Seven Purposes of ISKCON

  • 1

    To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all peoples in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.
  • 2

    To propagate a consciousness of Krishna as it is revealed in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam.
  • 3

    To bring the members of the Society together with each other and nearer to Krishna, the prime entity, and thus to develop the idea, within the members, and humanity, at large, that each soul is part and parcel of the quality of Godhead (Krishna).
  • 4

    To teach and encourage the Sankirtan movement of congregational chanting of the holy name of God as revealed in the teachings of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
  • 5

    To erect for the members, and for society at large, a holy place of transcendental pastimes, dedicated to the personality of Krishna.
  • 6

    To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler and more natural way of life.
  • 7

    With a view towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, magazines, books and other writings.